This weekend, Brian Tinder and I headed south from Flagstaff to Payson, AZ to meet with Honey Albrecht, Zane Grey 50 Miler's lead course marking official. We were charged with helping mark the miles between 17 and 33 on the race course. The trail is rocky as ever, but not as overgrown as years past. We didn't have to crawl over a single downed tree. This was due to the hard work of Chris Thornley and the work he has been doing over the past weeks. He's cleared some big trees! Other work parties have also been out on other sections of the trail. Folks running this race in less than two weeks should remember that no matter how bad they think the trail is on race day, it's nothing near like it could have been. Thanks to the volunteers that put in the work to improve what must be one of the roughest recognized trails in the country.
Tinder and I started marking at Washington Park, mile 17 on the Zane Grey course. It is here that the Arizona Trail crosses the Zane Grey Highline National Trail.
The sign does not lie.
Typical trail for Zane. Washed out gullies. But awesome, sweeping views.
Some of the best tread you'll see until the final miles.
Yup, Tinder and Z run up the "trail." A four-foot gullied rut.
Here's more trail. The grass hummocks will be your favorite after you have 20 miles on your legs. They are slick as ice and hide all the ankle twisting rocks.
More of the course. Get ready for some memorable cuts, bruises and gashes on those bare legs of yours.
The trail through the manzanita. Notice the erosion control device in the foreground that has long since lost its function.
This trail marking crew consisted of Brian Tinder and Zoroaster. Siesta time!
Looking out across Zane Grey territory and the Mogollon Rim.
Looking back to where the first 20 miles of course stretch from.
Tinder climbs up through rocks, grass clumps and manzanita.
More panoramic Zane Grey views.
Water was plentiful two weeks before race day (This made Zoroaster very happy). Here water cascades over a natural slide in Dude Creek, mile 19 on the Zane Grey course.
Oh joyous trail.
Fire scars the Zane Grey landscape.
Your Moment of Zen
At least someone is having fun on the Zane Grey course.